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Henry the Fourth Part 1

by William Shakespeare

Act 5, Scene 2 Easiest-to-Read Edition

 

 

 



Henry the Fourth Part 1 Act 5 Scene 2



The rebel camp

Enter WORCESTER and Sir Richard VERNON

Enter WORCESTER and Sir Richard VERNON

WORCESTER

O no, my nephew must not know, Sir Richard,

The liberal and kind offer of the King.

 

WORCESTER

O no, my nephew must not know, Sir Richard,

The liberal and kind offer of the King.

 

VERNON

'Twere best he did.

 

VERNON

'Twere best he did.

 

WORCESTER

   Then are we all undone.

It is not possible, it cannot be

The King should keep his word in loving us.

He will suspect us still and find a time

still=always

To punish this offense in other faults.

in=by punishing

Suspicion all our lives shall be stuck full of eyes,

For treason is but trusted like the fox,

Who, never so tame, so cherished and locked up,

Will have a wild trick of his ancestors.

of his ancestors=inherited from his ancestors

Look how we can, or sad or merrily,

look how we can=however we look

Interpretation will misquote our looks,

And we shall feed like oxen at a stall,

The better cherished still the nearer death.

(the fatter and better looking, always the nearer to slaughter)

My nephew’s trespass may be well forgot.

It hath the excuse of youth and heat of blood

And an adopted name of privilege—

adopted name=assumed name (Hotspur)

of privilege=with an advantage

A hairbrained Hotspur governed by a spleen:

(spleen - part of the body seen as the source of both gloomy and mirthful emotions)

All his offenses live upon my head

And on his father’s. We did train him on,

And, his corruption being ta'en from us,

We as the spring of all shall pay for all.

Therefore, good cousin, let not Harry know

In any case the offer of the King.

 

WORCESTER

   Then are we all undone.

It is not possible, it cannot be

The King should keep his word in loving us.

He will suspect us still and find a time

To punish this offense in other faults.

Suspicion all our lives shall be stuck full of eyes,

For treason is but trusted like the fox,

Who, never so tame, so cherished and locked up,

Will have a wild trick of his ancestors.

Look how we can, or sad or merrily,

Interpretation will misquote our looks,

And we shall feed like oxen at a stall,

The better cherished still the nearer death.

My nephew’s trespass may be well forgot;

It hath the excuse of youth and heat of blood,

And an adopted name of privilege—

A hairbrained Hotspur governed by a spleen:

All his offenses live upon my head

And on his father’s. We did train him on,

And, his corruption being ta'en from us,

We as the spring of all shall pay for all.

Therefore, good cousin, let not Harry know

In any case the offer of the King.

 

VERNON

Deliver what you will; I’ll say ’tis so.

 

VERNON

Deliver what you will; I’ll say ’tis so.

 

Enter HOTSPUR and DOUGLAS

Enter HOTSPUR and DOUGLAS

Here comes your cousin.

Here comes your cousin.

HOTSPUR

   My uncle is returned.

(to a subordinate) Deliver up my Lord of Westmoreland (free the hostage).—

Uncle, what news?

 

HOTSPUR

   My uncle is returned.

Deliver up my Lord of Westmoreland.—

Uncle, what news?

 

WORCESTER

The King will bid you battle presently.

 

WORCESTER

The King will bid you battle presently.

 

DOUGLAS

Defy him by the Lord of Westmoreland.

 

DOUGLAS

Defy him by the Lord of Westmoreland.

 

HOTSPUR

Lord Douglas, go you and tell him (Westmoreland) so.

 

HOTSPUR

Lord Douglas, go you and tell him so.

 

DOUGLAS

Marry and shall and very willingly.

 

DOUGLAS

Marry, and shall, and very willingly.

 

Exit DOUGLAS

Exit DOUGLAS

WORCESTER

There is no seeming mercy in the King.

 

WORCESTER

There is no seeming mercy in the King.

 

HOTSPUR

Did you beg any? God forbid!

 

HOTSPUR

Did you beg any? God forbid!

 

WORCESTER

I told him gently of our grievances,

Of his oath-breaking, which he mended thus

By now forswearing that he is forsworn.

(by now swearing falsely that he is rejected)

He calls us “rebels,” “traitors,” and will scourge

With haughty arms this hateful name in us.

 

WORCESTER

I told him gently of our grievances,

Of his oath-breaking, which he mended thus

By now forswearing that he is forsworn.

He calls us “rebels,” “traitors,” and will scourge

With haughty arms this hateful name in us.

 

Enter DOUGLAS

Enter DOUGLAS

DOUGLAS

Arm, gentlemen, to arms. For I have thrown

A brave defiance in King Henry’s teeth,

And Westmoreland, that was engaged, did bear it,

that was engaged=that was our hostage

did bear it=did carry it to the King

Which cannot choose but bring him quickly on.

 

DOUGLAS

Arm, gentlemen, to arms. For I have thrown

A brave defiance in King Henry’s teeth,

And Westmoreland, that was engaged, did bear it,

Which cannot choose but bring him quickly on.

 

WORCESTER

The Prince of Wales stepped forth before the King

And, nephew, challenged you to single fight.

 

WORCESTER

The Prince of Wales stepped forth before the King,

And, nephew, challenged you to single fight.

 

HOTSPUR

O, would the quarrel lay upon our heads

And that no man might draw short breath today

But I and Harry Monmouth! Tell me, tell me,

How showed his tasking? Seemed it in contempt?

tasking=demanding

 

HOTSPUR

O, would the quarrel lay upon our heads,

And that no man might draw short breath today

But I and Harry Monmouth! Tell me, tell me,

How showed his tasking? Seemed it in contempt?

 

VERNON

No, by my soul. I never in my life

Did hear a challenge urged more modestly,

Unless a brother should a brother dare

To gentle exercise and proof of arms.

He gave you all the duties of a man,

Trimmed up your praises with a princely tongue,

Spoke your deservings like a chronicle,

Making you ever better than his praise

By still dispraising praise valued in you,

And, which became him like a prince indeed,

He made a blushing cital of himself,

cital=citation

And chid his truant youth with such a grace

As if he mastered there a double spirit

Of teaching and of learning instantly.

There did he pause: but let me tell the world:

If he outlive the envy of this day,

England did never owe so sweet a hope

So much misconstrued in his wantonness.

wantonness=whims

 

VERNON

No, by my soul. I never in my life

Did hear a challenge urged more modestly,

Unless a brother should a brother dare

To gentle exercise and proof of arms.

He gave you all the duties of a man,

Trimmed up your praises with a princely tongue,

Spoke your deservings like a chronicle,

Making you ever better than his praise

By still dispraising praise valued in you,

And, which became him like a prince indeed,

He made a blushing cital of himself,

And chid his truant youth with such a grace

As if he mastered there a double spirit

Of teaching and of learning instantly.

There did he pause: but let me tell the world:

If he outlive the envy of this day,

England did never owe so sweet a hope,

So much misconstrued in his wantonness.

 

HOTSPUR

Cousin, I think thou art enamorèd

On his follies. Never did I hear

Of any Prince so wild a liberty.

so wild a liberty=so uncivilized a lack of restraint

But be he as he will, yet once ere night

I will embrace him with a soldier’s arm,

embrace=greet (also, hug)

arm=weapon (also, arm)

[so] That he shall shrink under my courtesy.—

Arm, arm with speed, and, fellows, soldiers, friends,

[it is] Better [that you] consider what you have to do

Than I, that (who) have not well the gift of tongue,

Can lift your blood up with persuasion.

(than that I, who have not well the gift of tongue, lift your blood up with persuasion)

 

HOTSPUR

Cousin, I think thou art enamorèd

On his follies. Never did I hear

Of any Prince so wild a liberty.

But be he as he will, yet once ere night

I will embrace him with a soldier’s arm,

That he shall shrink under my courtesy.—

Arm, arm with speed, and, fellows, soldiers, friends,

Better consider what you have to do

Than I that have not well the gift of tongue

Can lift your blood up with persuasion.

 

Enter a MESSENGER

Enter a MESSENGER

MESSENGER

My lord, here are letters for you.

 

MESSENGER

My lord, here are letters for you.

 

HOTSPUR

I cannot read them now.—

O gentlemen, the time of life is short.

To spend that shortness basely were too long

were too long=life would be too long

If life did ride upon a dial’s point,

dial’s point=specific time on a clock or watch

Still ending at the arrival of an hour.

still=always

an hour=a fixed hour

(it is more important to spend time wisely if time is short)

An if we live, we live to tread on kings;

If die, brave death, when princes die with us.

brave=defy (a verb)

Now, for our consciences, the arms are fair

When the intent of bearing them is just.

 

HOTSPUR

I cannot read them now.—

O gentlemen, the time of life is short;

To spend that shortness basely were too long

If life did ride upon a dial’s point,

Still ending at the arrival of an hour.

An if we live, we live to tread on kings;

If die, brave death, when princes die with us.

Now, for our consciences, the arms are fair

When the intent of bearing them is just.

 

Enter another MESSENGER

Enter another MESSENGER

SECOND MESSENGER

My lord, prepare. The King comes on apace.

apace=rapidly

 

SECOND MESSENGER

My lord, prepare. The King comes on apace.

 

HOTSPUR

I thank him that he cuts me from my tale,

For I profess not [skill at] talking. Only this:

Let each man do his best. And here draw I a sword,

Whose temper I intend to stain

With the best blood that I can meet withal

In the adventure of this perilous day.

Now, Esperance! Percy! And set on.

Esperance (hope)=word in the Percy coat of arms

Sound all the lofty instruments of war,

And by that music let us all embrace,

For, heaven to earth, some of us never shall

A second time do such a courtesy.

 

HOTSPUR

I thank him that he cuts me from my tale,

For I profess not talking. Only this:

Let each man do his best. And here draw I a sword,

Whose temper I intend to stain

With the best blood that I can meet withal

In the adventure of this perilous day.

Now, Esperance! Percy! And set on.

Sound all the lofty instruments of war,

And by that music let us all embrace,

For, heaven to earth, some of us never shall

A second time do such a courtesy.

 

Here they embrace. The trumpets sound.

Here they embrace. The trumpets sound.

Exeunt

Exeunt

 

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